Group of diverse people stand on steps and wave to the camera
Active Citizens from across the globe came together in Bangladesh for an International Study Visit  ©

Christopher Symes

Active Citizens is a social leadership programme that the British Council ran from 2009 to 2021. The programme promoted intercultural dialogue and social responsibility as key leadership skills in the 21st century. 

The Active Citizens programme trained over 12,000 facilitators, who then cascaded their learning to local participants, who we called Active Citizens. Facilitators delivered the Active Citizens training programme to local communities around the world, enabling community-led social development through training, social research, conferences and International Study Visits.

British Council ran this programme with civil society organisations in over 80 countries around the world, spanning the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. It was delivered with the support of nearly 1,500 partners, who were recruited from a diverse array of global organisations, from grassroots civil society groups to universities. The programme reached a broad range of audiences, from North-West Frontier Province Pakistan to urban communities in East London in the UK, to communities vulnerable to post-election violence in Kenya to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka.

Trust, mutual understanding and sustainable development were accomplished through the Active Citizens programme which enhanced the participants’ ability to negotiate their identities, and to meet their individual needs while valuing the needs of others. Overall, more than 380,000 Active Citizens were trained and over 17,000 social action projects were launched. Using their new skills and knowledge, Active Citizens continue to work in their communities to take meaningful social action and build trust. 

Active Citizens facilitator’s toolkit 

The Active Citizens facilitator’s toolkit has all the information you need to design and deliver an impactful training programme for your community. It includes step-by-step guidance, information on learning outcomes, explanations of abstract concepts, case studies and delivery checklists. 

The toolkit is available to everyone and can be shared under the Creative Commons licence CC BY-ND 4.0. This means that you can use, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially, under these conditions:

  • You are required to credit the British Council as the creator of the toolkit and provide a link to our website
  • If you change the toolkit in any way, you are not allowed to distribute the modified toolkit to a wider public without prior written permission from the British Council. Please use this Contact Us form to request permission
  • However, you are allowed to use and distribute the modified toolkit to a small group without prior written permission from the British Council provided that you indicate that changes were made from the original.